Nearby points of interest
Nearby points of interest
About Al Dente
Al Dente is serving Italian Cuisine by Chef Roberto Donna near American University.
Washington, DC 20016
Hours of Operation:
11:30AM to 10:00PM Daily
$30 and under
AMEX, MasterCard, Visa
Free Parking weeknights from 5:00PM and all day Saturday & Sunday.
50% OFF weekdays before 5:00PM.
Bar Dining, Beer, BYO Wine, Corkage Fee, Counter Seating, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking, Outdoor dining, Takeout, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine
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Al Dente Ratings and Reviews
I am a huge fan of Roberto Donna's but I don't live near Al Dente so it took me a while to finally get there. I was not disappointed. The food was amazing. The menu is extensive and everyone in my party loved what ordered. I will certainly go back again.
One note - we arrived at 7 pm on a Wednesday evening and to my surprise there were a number of families eating. By 8 pm, it was all adults.
This place was ok. Service, once we got seated, was ok. seemed to be a lot of confusion between staff. Bartender was also our server so when she was busy we waited. We finally asked a bus boy if he could remove our plates. Our server kept trying to take our food away ie remove the bread when the pasta arrived - the reason: the tables are small. Food was just ok. Husband had lobster and pasta and he liked it. I had maccaroni w/meatballs, cheese & basil. It had 4 small meatballs, lots of shredded meat and no basil that I could see. I would not order this again.
Cheese portions are tiny and expensive.
Overall, it's just OK, service really needs some work. We sat in the bar area.
Our waiter Alberto provided great service. Alberto let us know about special reserve wines not yet on the menu (ours was a Barbaresco--nice finish). Has Italian good comparable to the quality in Tuscany, Umbria, and Piedmont in northwest Italy. Excellent food value and quality. Portions were large--could be reduced by 10%. We will definitely be back to this restaurant!
If one chooses wisely from this much too long menu, there are some good dishes to be found ( such as pork belly and apples appetizer). Too many of the dishes are executed poorly, however. This is not a fine food restaurant in decor or kitchen production so perhaps Al Dente would have a better success at casual rustic and forget fancy or fried.
We have been to Al Dente several times since it opened and have taken a lot of overseas visitors there. They were always impressed. The food has always been fantastic. The service is great. This time we discovered the Sunday Brunch which is great value. The owner/chef noticed one of us had not eaten much of their entree (there was nothing wrong with it but it turned out to be a lot richer than expected) so he insisted on making a similar but lighter dish to replace it.
We love the fact that this restaurant is just at the end of our street but its still worth driving across town for.
Had reservation at 8; wait until 8:45 but at bar w/ excellent service; seated at nice table, waiter helpful, good wine recommendation, then nothing. Took forever for order, bread, food to arrive, etc. Food was excellent with nice sized portions; everyone pleased. Took long time to get check; were charged for wine that we paid for at bar. Waiter did not return; gave check to another waiter with instructions to please remove charge; after long wait, original waiter brought check back; charge still there; waiter disappeared again; took check to bar; she fixed it quickly but couldn't find waiter; finally brought check herself to table. Waiter came as we were leaving to apologize. Too late for full tip!
We had a delicious three course dinner. The menu offers a very wide variety of choices, including many wines available by the glass, nice if everyone is interested in different choices. The service was very good, and attentive. The desserts were excellent and creatively plated. We look forward to our return visit, which will be very soon!
The food was good, well prepared and tasty. I was especially gratified that it was not ear-splitting noisy, so common in restaurants of all kinds now, which mercifully allowed my wife and I to actually have a conversation with our friends. I cannot tell you the number of places we have not returned to because of loud, intrusive noise pollution. Why would anyone want to go out to an expensive restaurant and have to show up one another to hold a "conversation"? Again, thank you for providing a civil atmosphere that allows conversation. Your place would be even more cozy without the metallic industrial look; it has the feel of a well polished factory--cold, impersonal. I would have preferred wood.
Great flavor and texture to the dishes we tried, especially the appetizers and Antipasti (caponata salad, Thinly sliced salami, sausage and lentils and crispy calamari) that come in good size portion, easy to share. Entrees and desserts were very good too but not quite as exciting as the appetizers. We went on a Sunday night and the service was rather spotty. We'll definitely go back and try different dishes like the grilled beef marrow. The menu has a lot of variety and something for everyone and the prices are very reasonable for the quality.
Tonight we ordered the "The Skewered & Grilled Pork Sausage & Chicken Cubes."
The chicken cubes were completely missing! Instead, pieces of crouton-like bread were substituted for the chicken.
After dinner I checked the Al Dente website's online menu; the description clearly states the inclusion of chicken cubes.
All I have to say, is that if a establishment runs out of a main ingredient, they should remove the dish from their menu. They SHOULD NOT substitute cubes of over-baked bread.
What makes my rating so low is that our waiter returned to our table and claimed that the chicken was actually an ingredient WITHIN the pork sausage.
We gave Al Dente 4 chances. At this point there will not be a f
Very few people in restaurant; if there had been more it would have been noisy because the decor is all hard. There no noise softening materials used here. Cold and utilitarian feel.
Food was ok, fresh salad, very hot minestrone and eggplant parmigiana. Eggplant bit overcooked and too oily. Bread fresh.
I loved the cornish game hen entree - perfectly cooked. Also the pork belly with apples appetizer though a bit sweet for my taste. The service was ok but not as good as a previous visit when Linda was my server - one of the best servers I've ever had. Still, I really like Karen, the hostess.
The food and decor were both lovely. My only complaint is small - the staff seemed a bit distracted. They were nice and responsive, but we bounced between a few servers and they seemed confused about who was supposed to be taking care of us. Nevertheless, I look forward to many more meals at Al Dente.
Second time eating here, but probably the last. Food is good, but portions are too big, and our waiter both times was annoyingly indifferent...amazing how much a negative experience with a waiter can impact the entire dining experience. Restaurant is attractive, the atmosphere lively, but at this point been there, done that, and not really interested in going again and having to put up with such irritating treatment.
Way too many other good restaurants where the wait staff is truly professional.
Chef Roberto Donna, whose culinary magic is renowned, is stuck in a terribly-managed place. We waited 15 minutes for water and menus, then drink orders were botched. We got service when I stood and found the owner and complained. Even with a switch in waiters there was rampant chaos and I had to rise 3 more times to get someone's attention. Water glasses remained unfilled, appetizers were served to the wrong people, main courses came out at unpleasant intervals. The people who came in behind us were having coffee while we were still waiting for our mains. The food was good, but it was a very stressful and embarrassing evening. Donna was dismayed but powerless. The owner seemed indifferent.
It is nice to see Roberto Donna back producing great food and Mrs Donna tending to guests. I hope this venture continues successfully as a win/win for everyone. The food is great, the atmosphere friendly (less pretentious), and more casual and more reasonable $ wise.
I have eaten here for both lunch and dinner. Lunch the food is great the servers are gross. I'll fitting uniforms and unfriendly. The food is good enough to go back. For dinner the service is better and food and cocktails are excellent. The lighting is very bright which gives it a bit of a cafeteria feel but again food wins over. The owner and his wife are always there but they may want to hire a front of house manager because the service/ambiance pails in comparison
This was our 3rd visit and glad it wasn't our first. Took some friends to introduce them to Roberto Donna's amazing pasta. Service was spotty and we were bounced from server to server. Haz to ask to order, get napkins, plates, even more wine. Will be back for the food but hope the service improves.
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